After opening The Broadsheet Restaurant, we learned a few things about the restaurant trade. One is that it takes the right kit – both front of house and in the kitchen – to make things run smoothly. Another is that having a one-stop-shop, where you can get this stuff, is important.
Chef’s Hat in South Melbourne might be a keen cook’s paradise, but you don’t have to work in the industry to shop there. It helped set us up for a commercial kitchen, and now it’s helping us at home. Here are a few key items – a few essential, some more unusual – that will complete your own kitchen.
1. A good set of knives
Chef’s Hat suggested the Shun three-piece box set of Japanese knives with a hand-hammered finish, to prevent food from sticking to the knife. These thin, incredibly sharp blades deliver a super slice in a set that comes with a paring knife (for peeling), a utility knife (general, multipurpose cutting) and a chef’s knife (to mince, chop and bone meat). $369.
2. A microplane grater
A classic piece for cheese grating and zesting lemon or ginger, this version comes with soft handles and non-scratch end tabs to grate even the hardest parmesan. It’s ideal for topping spaghetti meatballs, Caesar salad, or grating citrus zest for vinaigrette. $39.95.
3. A cast-iron pot for slow cooking
When it comes to cooking pots, Chef’s Hat highly recommends the iconic French LeCreuset. The 24-centimetre/4.3-litre size is ideal for the home cook, for soup and stews that you can put on in the morning and keep cooking on low heat, slowly all day for dinner. They also come in great colours. $304.95.
4. A mortar and pestle
Made of granite, this is one heavy piece for your kitchen. But you’ll probably only need to buy it once, and it can also be used as a bookend for your cookbooks. Try the 175-milimetre size for grinding herbs, spices and nuts for all sorts of dishes. $45.95.
5. A good cutting board
We love these Australian-made Big Chop boards made from premium Tasmanian, responsibly harvested trees. The range comes in various sizes, but a 500x340x40 milimetre is a solid, heavy-duty board available in various timber combinations. $199.
6. A non-stick frying pan
Exclusive to Chef’s Hat, the Fundix range of cookware is our pick of the pans. Once you go non-stick you’ll never go back. It makes cooking everything, from fried eggs and bacon, to fish and pancakes, a breeze. $86.95.
7. A Japanese mandoline
Japanese kitchenware is ergonomic, efficient, easy to use and easy to clean. This device will make your slicing sing. Try this Benriner super vegetable slicer to finely slice fruit and vegetables, fingers intact. $79.95.
8. A smoking gun
This hand-held food smoker makes food and drink smoky using wood chips and flavor. Smoke fish, butter, oysters and cocktails with wood chips such as hickory, applewood or cherry. You can even flavour teas, spices and chocolate. By PolyScience for $159.50.
9. A mouli
Also know as a food mill, the mouli comes with three different disks: for preparing mash; to sieve soft foods such as vegetables for purees and sauces; and for preparing potatoes for homemade gnocchi. $62.95.
10. Nice serving dishes
After all your work cooking with the above, make sure the finished dishes come out looking their best. Made with Australian stoneware, this Glenn Tebble crockery (exclusive to Chef’s Hat) is made in Melbourne by Bendigo Pottery. Various prices per piece from $20–$40.
131 Cecil Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9682 1441